The James River High School Band is collecting shoes— new and used but in wearable condition— as a fundraiser and to help micro industries around the world.
The JRHS Band is working with Funds2Org, a Florida-based for-profit social enterprise that was established to help “micro-entrepreneurs” in developing countries establish small businesses that would help their own local economies and families.
The JRHS Band is collecting shoes until May 10, “And we need a lot more,” Band Booster Club Presidents Catharine Harrison says.
After collecting the shoes, they band them in pairs and put 25 pair in bags provided by Funds2Go.
Funds2Go then collects the shoes and distributes them to different parts of the world. The band gets 40 cents a pound for the shoes members collect.
The shoes need to be new or used but in wearable condition. The only thing they don’t take are shoes with wheels or blades (ice skates).
“This drive not only helps the band at JRHS, but the micro industries who organize and distribute the shoes, and the people who receive them who are in need. It also helps the environment by keeping shoes out of the land fill,” Harrison said.
The band is collecting shoes at the high school and at the Buchanan Library on Main Street, Buchanan.
According to its website, Funds2Go mission is “to give people in developing nations a hand-up, not a hand-out. We believe in philanthropy and in market-based solutions.”
So, Funds2Orgs partners with small business owners in developing countries. They company sells the shoes for pennies on the dollar to the small businesses owners who then sell the shoes in their local communities for a profit.
“The commerce that occurs helps sustain families. It also helps local economies and governments to build infrastructure, schools, hospitals, etc.,” the Funds2Go website says. “We know small business owners that have gone from earning as little as $2 a day for their families to over $60—simply by selling shoes.
Funds2Orgs considers their business model as a socially responsible way to dispose of unwanted shoes.
“What happens when you give to a shoe drive fundraiser with us is that the shoes are ‘re-purposed.’ In other words, the shoes are given another life.”
The company website says in the United States every year over 600 million shoes are thrown in landfills. “At Funds2Orgs, we collect gently worn, used and new shoes that are no longer wanted in our communities,” the website says, while asking, “Did you know that the average family has at least 15 pairs of shoes they no longer want or use hidden in their closets?”